TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7TH AND WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8TH – NASHVILLE TO ZURICH:
Today I leave with Jesse and Noah Bellamy to fly to Zurich for performances on Thursday and Friday at the Albisguetli Schutzenhaus (yeah, pronounce that!). We met at the Nashville airport at 10 am and they were already checked in when I got there. We are flying Delta who has just changed their baggage rules. Business Class Medallion Members are now cut back to 2 bags weighing 70 pounds instead of 3 and Coach Class can only check one bag weighing 50 pounds for European travel. The “first” additional bag costs $100 U.S….up from $50! Unbelievable rip off!
Flight was on time and we were on one of the tiny jets with one seat on one side and two on the other. My backpack wouldn’t even fit in the overhead. Thankfully, it was a short flight to Detroit. We had a short layover in Detroit and our flight departed to Amsterdam on time. Business Class was full but there were lots of empty seats in coach which was nice for the guys. A few minutes after take-off, the flight attendant dropped a glass filled with ice and what I thought was water in my lap! It wasn’t water. It was a mixed drink and very sticky. So I had a “pleasant” ride for 8 hours!
At least the food on Delta is really good and a much better selection of movies than United has. Restrooms are a huge problem though. Business class is “large” and only one toilet up by the flight deck and one at the back of business class. The one in the back is supposed to be for business class passengers only, but everyone in coach uses it too. There is always a “wait” to get in and this is made much worse by the pilots. The toilet is “blocked” off when they come out to use the facilities and that’s always a 20 minute process for some reason. There’s no showers in there so can’t imagine why a man would spend that much time in there. The flight attendants go in there and put on full makeup and re-do their hair which also ties up the facilities. Ahhh…the joys of flying.
Landed early in Amsterdam which was a good thing as we had a short connection. Actually had an hour to wait for our next flight. Our gate was at the very end of the terminal and NOTHING was down there – no coffee, snacks, gift shops, etc. I finally hiked a very long way back to “civilization” and purchased coffee and a bottle of water. I had reserved an aisle seat, not bulkhead on KLM but they decided I should have a window seat. When I tried to change it they said, sorry, even though you paid for business class and are a Diamond Medallion Member, you have no “rights”. Again, thankful it was a short flight.
We landed in Zurich a few minutes late. We walked down the terminal and straight into baggage claim – no passport control or immigration to go through! All our bags were waiting for us and it took us over a half hour just to change money. Had one person working a very long line.
Albi (our promoter/host) and Ernie (our driver) were waiting for us. IT IS FREEZING HERE…..COLDEST I’VE BEEN ALL WINTER!! The guys rode to the hotel in a nice large van and I rode with Albi so we could “catch up on the gossip”. J Hotel even had our rooms ready even though it was only 10 am. We were also able to eat breakfast before going to our rooms. The guys slept until 4 pm and I worked until 4 pm. Then we took the tram to downtown Zurich for dinner at my favorite restaurant – Contrapunto. The tram stops right in front of the Sprungli Chocolate store – the best chocolate in Switzerland. I did my “Valentine’s shopping” then we went to the restaurant. Winter truffles are in season so I had the same thing I always have – homemade noodles with truffles. The guys loved their meal.
We walked over to Coop (department/grocery store) to purchase some items we had forgotten. I needed an outlet where I could plug in 3-4 items with the Swiss plugs. My desk has an outlet for 3 items but the adapter is so large, it covers up two of the outlets. We walked down the length of the shopping street and took the tram back to the hotel. It’s almost midnight now and we don’t have to do anything until 3:30 pm tomorrow when we go to the venue for sound check. Think the guys are going to a museum and I’m going shopping. This is not a “partying” group which is really nice.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH, 2012 – FIRST PERFORMANCE AT ALBISGUETLI SCHUTZENHAUS:
I froze all night long. Even got up and used the hair dryer to warm my feet! Finally at 4 am, I put both of the down comforters on top of me and went to sleep….relatively warm. I’m talking to reception first thing about a portable heater. Forgot to mention that when I arrived back from Kuwait on Sunday, January 29th, I got the flu the next day. A really bad case of the flu. Took antibiotics but it’s still lingering. Flying yesterday was so miserable…thought my head would explode on take off and landing. Hope I am better before flying home.
Got up at 7 and did my “in room DVD workout” since this hotel has nothing that even resembles a workout room. Breakfast was okay but if you wanted eggs, that was an extra charge. Otherwise it was the standard, cheese, bread, etc., European breakfast.
Decided I didn’t have enough time to go downtown so I just walked around the neighborhood. Not much too see and freezing cold. I was able to find everything I forgot to bring at the big Coop store on the corner by the hotel. Grabbed a currywurst on my way back and answered emails until time to go to sound check.
The guys informed me that they had an adventure late last night. They were going somewhere on the number 9 tram. They decided to get on the one going in the opposite direction, thinking it would make a “loop” and eventually get them to their destination. Not so. It stopped at the end of the line and none of the other #9 trams stopped for them. They ended up taking a taxi back! Sounds like something I would do.
Ernie said we are supposed to get snow tonight. Great. It is already freezing. Might as well have fresh snow, too!
We left at 3:30 pm to go over for sound check. The production company had everything set up and ready for them. They finished sound check in 30 minutes and then did a radio interview. We were scheduled to eat dinner at 5:00 pm (MUCH TOO EARLY) but fortunately the restaurant didn’t open until 6 pm.
Jesse forgot something and I left my power cord for my computer at the hotel. We were going to take the trams back but George offered to drive us. Made a quick trip to the hotel and then back at the restaurant for dinner. Food was good but our choices were much more limited this year than last year. What really looked good were the desserts. Sure wish I hadn’t sworn off sugar!
Show started on time with an opening act. Crowd was a little “light” but I think a lot of the walk-up ticket buyers didn’t show because it started snowing earlier this evening. Snowing pretty good by show time. Jesse and Noah did a GREAT show and the audience danced the entire time. The venue insists on a 20 minute break in the middle of everyone’s 90 minute performance. Really hard on the entertainer to do that since they don’t turn the house. They have to “engage” the audience all over again when they come back from break.
Lots of people started leaving close to the end of the show because the roads were starting to ice over. Guys did an encore and then stayed to sell cds and sign autographs. Susan’s dear friend Marcus was there supporting Jesse and Noah. Got a great photo with him.
We left around midnight and it’s after 2 am now and I am frozen again because of the lack of heat in my room. They didn’t have an extra space heater to give me. Maybe I’ll buy my own tomorrow!!!!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH – SECOND SHOW IN ZURICH:
Only got about 3 ½ hours sleep last night. Worked out to the DVD again, had breakfast and then took the tram into Zurich to shop. Was “supposed” to be looking for a formal gown for the event in LA in a couple of weeks but the first 3 hours I spent buying things for the twins. Imagine that!
Finally scored with what I think is a beautiful designer gown and it was on sale which is even better. I don’t like to wear “black” but think that’s best in LA. Don’t want to “stand out”! J
It was freezing cold walking around and shopping. It’s a very “wet” cold which I am sure is great for my lingering congestion and cough. It started snowing at about 2 pm and I left to catch the tram back to the hotel. But got sidetracked shopping along the way and didn’t get back until 3:30 pm. Grabbed a quick shower, did some pre-packing to see if all my purchases are going to fit in the bags I have with me and then it was time to leave for the show. Iris arrived at about 6 pm and rode to the venue with us. I had dinner with her, Lukas (Gola’s manager), and Werner (owner of the production company.
The venue is packed tonight and a really great crowd. The performance tonight is even better than last night’s. Abli thinks so, too. J
We finished up around 11:30 pm and then they signed autographs and took photos with fans. Sold all the cds they brought over! We were back at the hotel at around 11:30 pm.
A friend of mine that I haven’t seen since 1997 emailed me today. He’s handling production for a metal band and they will be in Zurich for 3 nights, starting tomorrow night. They are driving from London to Zurich overnight tonight and roads aren’t great. Hopefully, he’ll arrive before midnight Saturday night and we can see each other before I have to fly home on Sunday morning. Can’t believe it’s been almost 15 years since I last saw him.
Going to bed now and get up early and go shopping in Lucerne with Iris. We will definitely be freezing because Lucerne in surrounded by water. Probably much colder there than in Zurich.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH – DAY OFF IN ZURICH:
Got my 4 hours of sleep and up at 7 to meet Iris for breakfast at 8:30 am. It is even colder today and snowing again. The guys took the train and Iris and I drove to Lucern. The wind was blowing and it was freezing. Lucern is a very complicated city to navigate. We couldn’t find half our favorite shops! Wish we had stayed in Zurich to shop. L But she bought a great bag she didn’t need and I bought the twins some more clothes. Didn’t find the shoes, purse or wrap I was searching for to go with my new gown though.
I couldn’t understand why there was so many “costumes” for sale – like during Halloween in the states. Evidently there is a big “festival” and everyone – adults and children – dress in costumes, and party non-stop. Places of business, schools, etc., close for this celebration.
We had lunch at a little Italian café and had salads with goat cheese. As we were finishing our meal a pink rabbit came into the restaurant (guy in a pink rabbit costume). He was very drunk, very loud and very obnoxious. I did take a photo of him but definitely not with him! Check out the photos on my Facebook page. J
I took the train back with the boys and made one last top at Sprungli Chocolates (yes, Scott, for you!). Then went back to the hotel for a quick shower and take the tram back to the train station to take the train over to the Swisshotel to meet my friend Nigel that I haven’t seen in 15 years. He looked exactly the same except for growing a beard. Hasn’t age a bit. We walked to a little Italian restaurant several blocks from the hotel. The food was great and it was quiet so we could talk nonstop and catch up on what has been happening in our lives in the last 15 years! Was a really nice evening.
I took the train/tram back to the hotel and now have to pack up and be ready to depart by 6:45 am tomorrow. It’s been a great, fun, short, FREEZING COLD trip. J
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH – FLYING HOME FROM ZURICH:
We met in the Lobby at 6:45 am and were at the airport about 20 minutes later. The check-in board sent us to one counter where the kiosks didn’t work for us. When we got in line to have an agent check us in, we were sent to an entirely different counter for Delta. It took FOREVER to get everyone checked in. Noah was last in line and he got behind a couple who had an expired passport!
Then we stood in a long line for Passport control, next was security, and finally another passport control agent! Took the tram to the gate and by that time, we only had about 30 minutes before we boarded.
The strange thing is, when I checked in online last night, I was told I could check 3 bags weighing 70 pounds each. That is standard when flying business/first on Delta or when you’re Diamond Medallion. But when I got to the kiosk, I was only offered the option of checking two bags. When I got in line, the agent said I could check three! Jesse paid $100 for his guitar when we left Nashville because I had checked in online and was told I could only check 2 bags. So, now I have to write a letter and try to get his money back for him!
The plane was FULL and it was a really, really old aircraft. The food was great though. I watched a movie, slept, and then watched another movie. We landed an hour early but poor Noah got in the wrong line again. He was so much later coming to baggage claim that I was going to try and get back upstairs to check on him. Thought maybe he had been detained.
The flight to Nashville was on time but we sat on the runway a long time waiting for a “slot” to take off. Landed Nashville about 10 minutes later than anticipated. But, all our bags made it and it was a great trip. Of course, the weather has turned cold here and snow is predicted for tomorrow! Just my luck…. J
Forgot to mention that on Saturday evening, Zurich had an earthquake! It was at about 11:45 pm and was 4.1 magnitude….about 16 km from Zurich!!!
Not at all normal for Switzerland!!!